Bookmakers May Be Forced to Scrap VIP Schemes

By Martin Green05 January 2020
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Bookmakers May Be Forced to Scrap VIP Schemes

Shares of British gambling companies like William Hill and Ladbrokes Coral owner GVC fell on Friday after an industry regulator proposed curbs on VIP schemes. The British Gambling Commission said it could prohibit programmes and incentives targeting frequent gamblers, while limiting deposits, in order to foster a more responsible culture. “We have been taking action to address poor practice around the treatment of VIP customers for some time,” a spokesperson for the commission said. The Guardian ran a feature on two recovering addicts that discussed how VIP status contributed to their loss of control over their gambling, and former England captain Wayne Rooney also gave an interview revealing how gambling losses affected his performances on the pitch.

Bet365 unveiled the key measures it has taken in order to boost player protection. It filed a document with Companies House and part of that focused on its “unwavering commitment to deliver industry-leading approaches to player protection”. It has developed a system called EROS, which is designed to monitor punters’ activity and search for any patterns that suggest there is a potential for problem gambling. It will shortly be put through an initial phase of testing. It has also teamed up with Canadian firm Focal Research to develop a practical player tool that uses data to identify high-risk gambling patterns. “The group recognises that player protection is not a competitive exercise, said Bet365. “To that end, the impact of its systems and the positive results it identifies through internal research are routinely shared across the industry. In the coming year, the group will continue in this vein, and is willing to work with other operators and regulators on raising standards across the industry, in a shared endeavour to make gambling safe for all.”

Paddy Power marked the end of the decade by revealing the 10 biggest acca victories over the previous 10 years. The bookmaker’s biggest hit came in 2013, when Paddy Power’s biggest accumulator win hit came in 2013, when a landed £986,807 from £10 bet on a horse racing six-fold, featuring three races from both Naas and Galway in a 90-minute period. Next up was a £5 seven-fold acca featuring results and both teams to score selections, landing £276,413 for the winner in 2015. The bet featured games in the MLS and Brazilian Serie A. Another punter in 2015 bet just £1 on 1 17-leg accumulator covering the Champions League, Championship and League One, netting £206,262. The bet featured wins for Barcelona over Manchester City, Juventus to beat Borussia Dortmund, Brighton to beat Leeds and Brentford to beat Blackpool. “I’m still convinced the lad who managed to predict 17 football match results is actually a time traveller,” said Paddy Power, son of founder David Power.

Spain’s coalition government has decided to treat gambling in a similar fashion to tobacco in an effort to “prevent and curb” it. The government said it will introduce six measures designed to reinforce the player's self-awareness with the aim of encouraging “healthy consumption practices and to prevent, anticipate or identify the generation of problematic game patterns”. One of them involves a regulation of the advertising of gambling and online gambling at the state level and “similar to that of tobacco products”. It said: “We will promote the involvement of gambling and betting operators in the development of information, prevention, sensitisation and reparation actions for possible undesirable effects derived from gambling activity.” Elsewhere, Danish gambling regulator Spillemyndigheden published a new guide on responsible gambling. It states that states that that licence holders have an obligation to prevent problem gambling, to recognise potential problem gamblers among their players and to help those players who may have a problem with their gambling.